The Last Rose of Shanghai by Weina Dai Randel is a terrific historical novel. The historical fiction genre is mostly referred for romances as it is for stories set in World War II. This book takes those straightforward premises and overturns them by adding so much more to deliver an excellent result of art. The story is set in Shanghai, China, during the war.

The Last Rose of Shanghai By Weina Dai Randel is a Terrific Historical Novel
The Last Rose of Shanghai By Weina Dai Randel is a Terrific Historical Novel

The Last Rose of Shanghai is a romantic tale between a young Chinese lady, Aiyi, and a German Jewish refugee, Ernest. It is a tale of love and the horror of war. Aiyi owns a dance club and recruits Ernest to play the piano. His way of playing is a success and gradually their forbidden love come to existence.

After reading half of the story, I believed that this was simply going to be another superficial romantic tale. I am glad what I thought was wrong. In the leftover 200 pages, Randel turns yarn of so profound and enduring flavor that it helps us to remember the real power of human love regardless of the war and it’s disturbances. Onto the canvas of war and love, she paints topics of family, of social harmony, and of undying hope. The strength of love despite difficulties and differences is, obviously on display as well.

This book is narrated in the voices of two people – Aiyi’s and Ernest’s – and in two different periods “WWII and 1980’s”. A documentary is being arranged about Jewish refugees in Shanghai during WWII in general, and about Ernest specifically. The documentarian is talking with Aiyi, Aiyi was the one person who knew Ernest best during his Shanghai years.

Any person who loves historical fiction will really like the mastery of writing in this book. With astonishing prose and information on the horrible events happening in China, this book isn’t to be missed!! I will happily read any book this writer will publish. The feelings, the vivid portrayals, the storyline. My heart went up and down.

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